Rev. Dr. Chuck Moffett
“This is scary—what can we do?” That statement has been asked of me many times over the last few weeks. Each time it reflects the person’s deep anguish over the traumatic events happening in Israel/Gaza; ISIS/Iraq; Ebola in Africa; Al-Shabab in Djibouti; killing in Ferguson; beheading of James Foley in Syria.
Let me assure you right now: I ask those same questions from a very personal position … not just as a “preacher.” Recently I received word that my son is being deployed in late October to Djibouti in the Horn of Africa = the hotbead of Al-Shabab terrorism in northeast Africa and Yemen. This will be his fifth deployment overseas. Dave is Builder Petty Officer 1st Class with the U.S. Navy Seabees (construction battalion). You understand why the feeling of “this is scary—what can we do?” is deep in my soul.
I am not a politician who has the best answer or insight. The best I can offer is what I do for myself. I find it helpful for me to re-frame the question. “What can I do?” means I am concerned about ME = “What can I do to protect MY safety?” If I truly care about the plight of others and the world, my question needs to be more like: “How do I need to live to regard all others as children of God?”
To re-frame that question is NOT easy! Some may regard it as naively unreal. I suggest the only solution to the “political” question is to ask the more important “value” question. This moves us from a position of “revenge” to a position of “respect” for each of us as a child of God. How can we create a world with less violence and division? Can we offer respect WITHOUT negating our own beliefs? Can we dialogue instead of destroy?
I offer a book by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism. With so much divisiveness in the world, this book offers a concrete and accessible approach for mending fences among people around the world—even here at Bay Village.